Study: Medtronic CEO Ishrak scores low on the narcissism scale

Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak

Medtronic ($MDT) CEO Omar Ishrak has already been feted with praise for his efforts to keep the world's largest medical device company on the cutting edge, but a team of researchers are looking into the effects of one of the GE veteran's less-discussed attributes: his ego.

According to work by Australia's Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Ishrak came in No. 3 among the U.S.'s 10 least narcissistic CEOs, a list that includes the chiefs of Target, McDonalds and Lockheed Martin. The methodology is fairly simple: Researchers took a look at the CEOs of the 100 largest companies in the country and pooled transcripts of nonscripted Q&A sessions, determining a narcissism score by calculating the ratio of first person singular pronouns to total first person pronouns used--e.g., "I" counts as narcissistic, while "we" does not.

For the researchers, that's just step one. Next they plan to study whether there's a correlation between CEO narcissism and overall company performance, questioning whether, as Dean Alex Frino put it, if "narcissism, generally viewed as a personality defect, (is) actually a good thing?"

"Does the world in fact need more narcissistic CEOs?" Frino said in a statement. "Or is this a trait we should be actively teaching future leaders to avoid?"

Of course, it's hard to say whether pronoun usage is a viable surrogate endpoint for selflessness, but Ishrak, thanks to his Twitter account, is undoubtedly one of the most accessible CEOs among the world's largest companies. His tweets never stray from what would likely please his PR staff, but he's also rarely self-congratulatory, choosing instead to repeatedly thank employees and post pictures of his travels to Medtronic's various global outposts. Furthermore, his Twitter handle, @MedtronicCEO, shies away from even using his name.

But even if Ishrak is in fact harboring a well-hidden self-obsession, his rap sheet speaks for itself: The CEO has guided Medtronic to quarter after quarter of revenue and profit growth, and the company's shares are up about 52% since he took the reins in June 2011.

- read the school's release

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